The resinous glands of the humble hemp plant contains an extraordinary molecule that provides corrective value and aids overall health. This molecule is Cannabidiol or ‘CBD’ and its use has skyrocket across the wellness industry. The many CBD products available today have become a staple among health conscious consumers. If it is all brand new to you, you’ve come to the right place. We break down everything you need to know about CBD below.
Where does CBD come from?
CBD is found in all three varieties of the cannabis genus – sativa, indica and ruderalis. While all three are ultimately the same plant, they do contain significantly different quantities of the other prominent cannabinoid, THC.
Hemp, a variety of cannabis sativa, typically contains much higher concentrations of CBD. It also contains very little THC (<0.2%) and does not provide a high. This is why most of the world’s supply of CBD comes from the hemp plant.
If you have ever seen cannabis flowers you will have noticed the sticky, crystals across the flower. They are known as trichomes and this is where cannabinoids such as CBD are concentrated.
CBD and other cannabinoids
CBD is part of a family of wellness molecules known as cannabinoids. Or more specifically, phyto-cannabinoids, meaning cannabinoid from a plant. There are over 100 in the plant however CBD and THC are by far the most abundant.
Other major cannabinoids include cannabigerol (CBG), cannabichromene (CBC) and cannabidivarin (CBDV). Any of these may be present in full spectrum or broad spectrum CBD oil.
History of CBD
For many of us CBD is a new phenomenon however hemp has been grown and used by man for time immemorial. For instance, Queen Victoria used CBD rich cannabis for menstraul cramps in the 19th century. In fact recorded usage goes as far back as 2737BC with Emperor Cheng Neng of China.
However it is only recently that we are fully getting to grips with just how incredible it is. Thanks to recent scientific advancements we are now capable of elucidating the molecular structure of the plant.
In 1839 an Irish physician and medical researcher William O’Shaughnessy published a study on the therapeutic effects of cannabis. The controversial study paved the way for further research and the discovery of cannabinoids such as CBD.
A full century after this pioneering study, British chemist Robert S Chan discovered the first individual cannabinoid. This cannabinoid was cannabinol (CBN). Two years after that in 1942, Dr Roger Adams successfully isolated CBD.
It wasn’t until 1963 that cannabis industry OG, Dr Raphael Mechoulam successfully identified the stereochemistry of CBD. This progress continued through the next few decades including the discovery of the endocannabinoid system.
What does CBD do?
CBD delivers a benign psychotropic effect in comparison to its counterpart THC. More specifically it may help ease pain, anxiety, stress, inflammation and sleeplessness. It achieves this by activating and interacting with your cannabinoid receptors which we explore in the next section.
While many cannot tolerate the mind-altering effects of THC, CBD offers none of the disadvantages of its stigma-laden cousin de cannabis. People around the world can consume CBD void of the risk of becoming ‘high’ or ‘stoned.’
CBD is also one of the few molecules manufactured outside of the human body that readily crosses the blood brain barrier. Moreover its half-life in humans is relatively long. It lasts approximately 3-5 days after oral dosing depending on factors such as weight and dosage.
A simple guide to CBD Dosage for beginners
How does CBD work?
CBD works along with the bodies natural chemistry by activating the cannabinoid receptors within your endocannabinoid system. This results in higher levels of endocannabinoids which in turn returns us to a state of balance or homeostasis.
CBD and other Cannabinoids interact with the human body via a network of microscopic cellular receptors. These receptors work alongside endocannabinoids and enzymes as part of our endocannabinoid system (ECS).
The ECS is present not only in humans, but in all mammals including dogs, cats and even fish. It is directly responsible for managing critical bodily functions such as appetite, mood, sleep, metabolism, inflammation and the ability to ward off infection or disease.
Scientists have identified the precise manner in which CBD molecules bind or dock with cellular receptors. The ECS is comprised of two primary receptor types CB1 and CB2. CB1 receptors are primarily located throughout the brain and central nervous system and feature at least two binding receptors to accommodate two or more Cannabinoid molecules. CB2 receptors, on the other hand, are mainly found on white blood cells and in immune tissue. This may indicate they have an immunomodulatory role.
The process of CBD molecules binding with a CB1 receptor is known as allosteric modulation. This process limits the opportunities of THC and other endogenous cannabinoids to stimulate the CB1 receptor. This in turn delivers a buffering effect to THC, decreasing its potency. Therefore proving useful in assisting consumers who may suffer anxiety when using Cannabis.
Is CBD Oil legal in the UK 2023?
Yes CBD is completely legal to own, sell and use in Northern Ireland, GB, and in most countries worldwide. With that said there are some guidelines around its sale here in the UK. Most notably, CBD products cannot be marketed for their medicinal benefits and must be sold as food supplements.
There are also some misnomers around the legality of CBD. For example you may have seen retailers claim their product is legal as long as it contains 0.2% THC. This isn’t technically true however as this figure is based on Home Office regulation around the cultivation of hemp plants and not finished CBD products.
To line it all up the Food Standards Agency (FSA) have recently began to regulate the UK CBD market. In doing so they require Novel Food licences for all oral CBD products sold. The idea is to improve customer confidence in CBD by standardising testing and labelling among other changes. We should finally see the results of this implemented throughout 2022.
Where to buy CBD?
You can find CBD sold in many forms including CBD oil, CBD e-liquid and CBD capsules across the High Street or online. Nowadays you can even find it in the major high street chemists and retail stores.
Tread carefully when purchasing from these stores though as not all CBD is created equally. New FSA novel food regulations are also giving way to a growing market of CBD products made from synthetic CBD.
As synthetic CBD is made in a lab it lacks the other beneficial ingredients that often accompany CBD. Hemp derived CBD typically contains other trace cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, etc which help improve the efficacy of CBD. Moreover some of the chemicals used to synthesise CBD are potentially dangerous to humans.
Worryingly, there is no requirement for a CBD brand to label their products as synthetic or natural. This means you could be ingesting potentially dangerous residuals without knowing.
In addition to the risk of ingesting synthetic CBD products, there is some cheap Chinese CBD products available. These products may contain heavy metals and should also be avoided. Finally some CBD products contain no CBD whatsoever. Typically this is in the way of a bottle of hemp seed oil.
The UK’s Trusted One Stop CBD Shop
Evidently it is important to do some due diligence when purchasing CBD. Not all CBD is created equally, so make sure you get yours from a reputable supplier. If you want to get it right first time shop our range.
Our humble, family-ran CBD store boasts one of the biggest ranges of CBD products available in the UK or Ireland. Moreover we only use hemp derived CBD so you don’t have to worry about dangerous residuals.
We work with the top brands across the world including CBD Brothers, Hempura, Provacan, Endoca, Vitality and many, many more. Shop with confidence as all of our products are lab tested. This means you get a safe and effective product that contains exactly what is stated on the label.
Want to know more about CBD?
If you’ve enjoyed this post you may like to read more about the science of CBD. Here are some of our most popular posts on Learning CBD.
- CBD and the Endocannabinoid System: A simple guide
- Is CBD really non-psychoactive? The definitive truth
- What are Terpenes and how do they enhance the effects of CBD?
We would love to help if you have any questions around this topic. Let us know by dropping us an email or comment on one of our social channels. We will endeavour to get back to you asap but while you wait the answer to your query may lie in our CBD FAQs.
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